An unwelcome visitor


Tick heaven at sunset, with the Isle of Cumbrae in the background


This morning’s last-minute drama before leaving the house to go to work was the discovery of a tick attached to the spouse’s formidable backside. Neither of us is taking any chances with the bloodsucking critters after my nasty brush with suspected Lyme disease last summer. Fortunately on that occasion it turned out I was only suffering from advanced hypochondria.

It was with this in mind that the spouse was diverted from his journey out of the front door this morning. After hearing a noise, I found him face down and prostrate on the marital bed, writhing as if in a horror movie and shouting “Get it off me! Get it off me!” in the very loud voice required to tear me away from my porridge. He was wearing his fluorescent cycling jacket and his boxers, the trousers and cycle clips having been ripped off in the panic of the initial discovery. I rolled up my sleeves and assumed an authoritatively doctorly manner.

“Calm yer jets, let’s have a look,” I said, firmly pulling down his pants like a pro.

“Never mind having a look, get some Vaseline on it!” screamed the spouse, the double-entendre  uncustomarily escaping his notice in the commotion.

“Vaseline’s no good, you don’t do that these days,” I said even more authoritatively. “Suffocation is passé. They say it makes them regurgitate bugs into your bloodstream. You’ve got to twist the blighters out.” At this point I wished I’d managed to get a hold of one of those tick twister things last summer, but never mind, my eyebrow tweezers would make a fine substitute.

“Aye, right, forget the lecture, just get on with it and make sure you don’t leave the head in” came the ungrateful reply.

I fetched my equipment and prepared myself mentally to execute a deft removal. I flourished the tweezers theatrically in front of the patient so that he would feel completely involved in every stage of the procedure, before giving him a running commentary of my surgical intentions, just like the professionals of my recent acquaintance.

“Right, here goes, this won’t hurt a bit…oh SHIT!”

Unfortunately, in the dreaded worst case scenario, the body and the legs of the tick came away in my hands leaving the head and mouthparts firmly embedded under the skin where they might now cause a nasty infection.

I refused the desperate invitation to dig the bits out with a needle, opting instead for a quick dab on the backside with a hearing aid wipe, and making a note to check for gangrene in 24 hours.

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